Rally for small schools speaks out against consolidation plans

State Board of Education President Tom Campbell presents Governor Jim Justice at the rally for small schools. Photo Credit: (WCHS/WVAH)

Governor Jim Justice and a number of citizens spoke out against lumping schools together to solve budget issues.

Students and parents from several West Virginia counties spoke out at the capitol Friday.

People are particularly upset about consolidations in Nicholas and Fayette counties.

Justice said he is not a fan of consolidations

'But I know my place. Education is a somewhat independent wing of government," Justice said.

Those decisions, he said are up to the state board of education.

Jeff Hutchinson attended two of the Nicholas County BOE hearings and said the county's lost half of the population.

The plan lumps five schools into one large building.

"They voted 5 to nothing, unanimously to consolidate the schools in Nicholas County...It will be the same size as Nicholas County High School was in '82. So the small school thing, really doesn't apply."

Still the Richwood Alumni Association has filed a lawsuit against the county's board for the consolidation.

Libby Akers, is fighting fayette county's plan to cut 18 buildings down to 11.

"Valley Elementary School was the third best ranked school in the county and they just built a whole new wing for that elementary school," Akers said.

Despite the school building authorities good score, Valley Elementary is set to close.

High school students would move to three different buildings And elementary students would then go to the high school making it k-8.

She said enrollement is not the issue and says academics are not the real reason behind the boards plan.

"And we do have low test scores and low certified teachers, but who's fault is that? It's the board of educations responsibility to supply that," Akers said.

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